Inner Spirit Holdings (ISH.C) expands into Newfoundland and hires a dragon to help with distribution

Newfoundland
04/01/2020

Inner Spirit Holdings (ISH.C) and a subsidiary of Atlantic Cultivation signed a master agreement that will take Spiritleaf cannabis stores into Newfoundland and Labrador today.

Atlantic Cultivation has been building a cannabis production facility in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and will be eligible to apply for five retail licenses to operate retail cannabis stores in the province. This comes on top of a supply, development and retail agreement with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and strategic partner Auxly Cannabis (XLY.V).

“The agreement enables Inner Spirit to add a new operating territory and open a new market for the Spiritleaf brand. Our long-time strategic partner Auxly played a lead role in guiding this partnership and will remain involved as a supplier to the Province of Newfoundland and as a key strategic supplier to Spiritleaf stores across the country,” said Darren Bondar, president and CEO of Inner Spirit.

The Spiritleaf network currently includes 46 open and operating franchised, licensed and corporate-owned stores in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Atlantic Cultivation intends to open even more Spiritleaf stores in the near term. At present, the Topsail Road store in St. John’s is under construction and aiming to open later this year in June 2020. There are two other stores, one in Gander and one in Grand Falls-Windsor, in various stages of development and looking to open later this year as well.

“Atlantic, along with our strategic partner Auxly and new partner Inner Spirit, all share the same community driven values and are dedicated to providing a high quality, curated cannabis product and experience to our customers,” said Alex Twells, CEO of Atlantic Cultivation.

Atlantic Cultivation is a vertically integrated cannabis company operating out of Newfoundland and Labrador that uses top feed drip hydroponic technology to produce premium cannabis flower and solvent free single-origin inhalable extracts, which are then sold in their own retail stores.

Inner Spirit hires a Dragon

Late last month, Inner Spirit appointed Manjit Minhas as a strategic adviser to their board of directors. If her name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen her on TV. She’s become well known in Canadian business circles because of her role on the Dragons’ Den. Originally trained as a petroleum engineer, she diversified by specializing in brand development, marketing, sales management and retail negotiations.

Manjit Minhas

Personal accolades include Profit Magazine’s top growth entrepreneur, top 100 women entrepreneurs in Canada, Canada’s top 40 under 40, Chatelaine Magazine’s top entrepreneurial women of the year 2011, and Ernst and Young’s entrepreneur of the year for the prairie region. Minhas also serves as a director of ATB Financial, Alberta’s largest homegrown financial institution.

“Manjit is a well-recognized business visionary in Canada with a strong track record of building retail brands and expanding their growth opportunities. We look forward to her insights on our white labelling and licensing of house-branded cannabis to benefit the Spiritleaf network. She also has knowledge and insights for the distribution of our products, which will be very valuable as we look to optimize our product strategy,” said Bondar.

Her official role with the company will be to further define the organization’s house-brand cannabis products, determine distribution channels for the company’s products and services, and develop its government relations approach. Minhas is expected to be included in the slate of directors for election by shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting on May 15, 2020, once approvals are granted by the appropriate regulatory authorities.

The company pay Minhas a consulting fee and grant her 500,000 stock options at an exercise price of 10 cents per share in accordance with the company’s stock option plan.

—Joseph Morton

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